Debris pile thought to be origin of 2,000-acre Schroeder Fire in March, authorities say

Stephen Perez
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
The Schroeder Fire started on Monday morning and quickly forced evacuations of neighborhoods. At least one home was destroyed.

A debris pile is thought to be the origin of the Schroeder Fire that burned 2,224 acres west of Rapid City in late March, according to a release from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety. 

The investigation by South Dakota Wildland Fire and the Pennington County Sheriff's Office indicated that an escape from a debris/slash pile "cannot be eliminated as the cause of the blaze that started March 29,” the release from department spokesman Tony Mangan said. 

The fire started at a property located at 8875 Schroeder Road, Mangan stated. The owner of the property had a valid burn permit, the release stated.

More than 150 personnel responded to the fire that expanded from Schroeder Road to Nemo Road and Westberry Trails, the release said. At least one home, two outbuildings and a porch were destroyed by the fire. 

Anywhere from 400-500 people were temporarily evacuated. 

During the investigation, authorities conducted interviews with residents of the property and other witnesses with potential knowledge of the fire, Mangan said. Based on the information to date, and consultation with the Pennington County State's Attorney, no criminal charges are being filed at this time.